Fortville woman convicted in $1.2M fraud case
Kristy Deer, 09 June 2021
HANCOCK COUNTY — A Fortville woman accused of working with co-conspirators overseas in a scheme that scammed deaf and elderly people across the country out of about $1.2 million has been convicted on multiple federal charges in a federal court in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Donna L. Summerlin, 62, Fortville, was found guilty late last week following a seven-day jury trial held before United States District Court Judge Jennifer P. Wilson, the Department of Justice announced in a news release. The case, dating to 2018, was brought by the U.S. District Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.
Summerlin, who was convicted of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering, faces a long prison sentence.
According to acting U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Summerlin was charged with taking money from victims in a so-called advance-fee scheme. Many of the victims were either elderly, deaf or both.
In the schemes, victims were contacted through Facebook and told they were winners of a “deaf lottery” or that they had been selected for special and exclusive government grants or other programs.